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Census Support Q&A sessions

We held two support Q&As to talk members through the process for completing census in 2021, the additional funding support section and guidance for counting members. 

Watch the recordings

Why we do it

The Scouts carry out an annual census to create a detailed picture of the young people and adults that make up our membership. Knowing who our members are helps to better inform and deliver the support and services provided to meet the needs of our members.

The census figures also provide information regarding the payment of the national membership fee for youth members and associated levies at various levels of the movement.

Key dates

  • January: passwords are sent out to members.
  • Thursday 14 January: census site opens.
  • Sunday 31 January: official census date. 
  • Sunday 21 February: census site closes; all data must have been submitted and approved at all levels up to County.

Getting more help

We have written a guide for each of the main census return types, and we have updated our FAQs, but if you need more help, please get in touch with Scout Information Centre by by email on, or you can use Live Chat on our website.

Getting started

If you have never done the census before or want to prepare for it we suggest you look through the return guides below first. You can also access our FAQs, help for approvers, and other resources on the right hand side.

OSM Integration

Users of OSM Gold have access to the 'Census Aggregator' tool which makes life easier by providing a summary of your census return that you can copy accross into the census form. For those groups who use OSM Gold, and have opted into the OSM data sharing partnership, from January 2021, a button will be available in OSM to submit your aggregated youth data for the Census. This means that you won’t need to enter the data twice, saving you valuable time. Of course, please double check your data on the Census platform at the same time as you are completing the rest of the Section return.

If you want to sign up for the pilot you still can, take a look at how you get started.

Changes for January 2021

2020 has been a difficult year for many of us, and as such we have removed a number of census questions to try and make the process smoother and more straightforward. We have added a couple of new questions to better understand the financial impact that COVID-19 has had on the movement. This means that the return guides below won't look exactly like the final census forms. When these are complete, we will share pdf's of the forms in our census downloads section.

Complete the census

When you are ready to make a start, head over to the census system to complete or approve your census return.

Get started

Request a census call back

You can request a call back from a member of the team if you require assistance to complete Census this year. 

Complete the form

'Who are your members?'

In 2021, Scouting provision has differed across the UK. Find out who to count your young people based on the programme you offer. 

View guidance

Funding support from Census

During Census in 2021, there will be a section to support with funding. You can learn more these additional questions here.

View guidance


Regular questions that pop up about the census systems, and why we ask some of the questions that we do.

Read FAQs

Approving Returns

Additional information for people who approve census returns.

Read more

Census Downloads

Downloads that may help you in completing the census process.

View downloads

Youth Sections

A guide for those who fill in the census for Beaver Colonies, Cub Packs, Scout Troops, Explorer, Young Leader & Network Units.

Read more


A guide for those who fill in the census for Scout Groups.

Read more

Explorer Provision

A guide for DESC's and anyone who manages Explorer Provision in a District.

Read more

Active Support

A guide for those who complete the census for Active Support Units.

Read more


A guide for those who complete the census for Districts.

Read more

Counties, Areas & Regions

A guide for those who complete the census for Counties, Areas and Scottish Regions.

Read more